It’s hard to say precisely what this episode is about, but the cast and crew definitely had fun making it! The thread that runs through everything is television. It’s all over the place as a language lesson, but as a silly story about friends and TV, it’s good listening practice. If you haven’t seen it yet, follow these links to exercise your ears in German, French, Spanish, and English.
“Die wahre Traum der Liebe”
When the episode begins, Sascha and Anna are watching a romantic drama on TV. It’s about a “Jung aus Amerika” who falls in love with a “Mädchen aus Deutschland.” And it’s such blatant foreshadowing that I listened to the TV dialogue twice, to check if I recognized the voices. That is, to see if the two leads on Die wahre Traum der Liebe (The True Dream of Love) were also the two leads of Extra deutsch! I’m pretty sure that the actress playing Sascha also did the TV voice . . . But the male voice sounds less like Sam’s than like . . . Nic’s?
Later, the episode hints that the romance that will develop for Sam may not be with Sascha . . . but with Anna! This, plus the existence of at least one Sam-Anna fan video, makes me wonder if we’ll get a surprise at the end of the series.
If you know the ending, no spoilers, please! If you don’t know the ending, guesses are welcome!
“Ich habe die Rolle!”
It is Nic who is the star of this episode — and also the “Star” of the title. We’ve known for a while that he wants to break into showbiz, and now he finally does! He also gives us the two most useful language lessons in the whole episode: How to describe the weather and how to accept an acting award.
Anna also gets to shine a little more than usual, but I find her obsession with TV commercials a little silly. I wonder if this part made it in because some language learners have to act out ads in class. (I never did . . . but if I ever become a language teacher again, I have one new idea!)
Ein Stuck vom Paradies?
When did you start reading recipes in your target language? There was a simple recipe for Kartoffelsalat (potato salad) in my A1 German textbook. But I don’t recall getting a proper cooking vocabulary until an A2 class. In general, language learners seem to learn their way around a foreign restaurant before a foreign kitchen!
Outside of class, I’ve watched cooking and baking videos on my own. And I’m still very proud of a loaf of Brot ohne kneten that I made a few months ago! (Recipe link — Scroll down to find my comment!) So when Sam started taking down a recipe from a cooking show, I paid close attention. Who wouldn’t want to make that Stuck vom Paradies (piece of paradise) that is a Schokoeisbombe (chocolate ice cream bomb)? It’s apparently a real dessert, but sadly, Extra deutsch gives us a fake recipe. (Click here for some real recipes)
The jokes in all four versions of Extr@ have to be universally funny. Although the producers probably had English speakers as their main target audience, the shows have since been watched by viewers with different first languages. But once in a while we get a joke that requires a bit more familiarity with a different culture.
For instance, a German might find Nic’s stage name, Kurt Knall, a lot funnier than a non-German would. (“Knall” is German for the sound “bang.”) But I think French Nico’s choice of Hector Toutou would get the most laughs from a mixed audience: English and Spanish speakers will think of a ballerina’s tutu, and German speakers will hear the local version of “Bow-wow.” Spanish Pablo’s Antonio Matador comes in a close second, because everyone knows what a matador is — and the whole effect is over the top! I personally think the English Nic has the best stage name . . . but I don’t know if English learners will be as amused by Rock Thrust!
So . . . what’s on your TV?
- Do you watch television in your target language? If yes, what kinds of programs do you like best?
- If you had to write a simple TV commercial for any product, what would you choose?
- Can you tell me in another language how the weather is where you are?
- And just for fun . . . how important is language fluency in a romantic relationship?
Next Week: Episode 6, The Lottery
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